Friday, May 28, 2004

anyone interested in going to lollapalooza this year?

i'm serious. the lineups for both days are pretty impressive, it takes place in town (molson amphitheatre), and lawn tickets are in the $40 range (each day).

The lineup:
Day One will see Morrissey, Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, Le Tigre, The Von Bondies, Broken Social Scene, The Walkmen, Wolf Eyes, Danger Mouse, The Datsuns, Sparta and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Day Two’s bands include String Cheese Incident, The Flaming Lips, Wilco, Gomez, Polyphonic Spree, TV On The Radio, The Thrills, The Coup, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Elbow and Wheat. Playing both days on the special Solar Sound Stage are Mike Watt, The Dresden Dolls, Bumblebeez 81, Carina Round, The Living Things, Peretz and Ross Golan And Molehead

The dates are august 5th and 6th (thursday and friday) and while taking two days off work and not spending them with loved ones may be beyond verboten for some, the dates could coincide nicely with the same loved ones going out of town or cottaging (can be used as a verb?).

i checked the ticketmaster (spitting noise to convey disgust) website and there doesn't seem to be a way to order online but i could always call them or the box office directly.

any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

One of the few bands to make it out of the whole Madchester scene (15 years on)alive and still kicking with a bit of punch, the Charlatans have just released their 8th studio album. You can listen to the whole thing on their website which you can link to below. Still sounds like the Charlatans and I'm still liking it.
Amusing article about itunes celebrity playlists/mix tapes here. k
Thanks dudes. Lots of good input here, and other than a number of Derek's typically esoteric suggestions, we appear to be (eerily) close in our way of thinking. For example, I have included the Modest Mouse track (first song on the disk in fact!), and debated putting a second # on as well - I love their "thing", though muscially I'm beginning to see little difference between some of their stuff, Flaming Lips, and Mercury Rev. Any one else hearing the similarities?

And I've already added Astrud Gilberto's "A Certain Sadness" (a beauitful song if you don't know it), except it was to my "Autumn" disk - disk one of the two-disk SAD set.

Derek has also sent me a further note to add The Heavy Blinkers, whom I've heard of but never heard (sounds intriguing). Aside: Why is everybody, myself included, now throwing about the term "chamber pop"? OK, I know why I'm doing it ('cause I'm a pretentious trend-aholic), but why is everybody ELSE??

Incidentally, I downloaded some of the Delays based on the Steven Merritt article and didn't love it - I found it too shimmery, and a little hook-less for the type of music.

Keep thinking, if you're so inclined. I love this stuff.
talk about timing. i just finish reading an interview with stephen merrit in the onion's avclub, headlined with the quote, "Sincerity has no place in popular music, any more so than does cooking" when I head over here to see a spirited defense of sincerity in popular music. at the risk of making over-stephen-merritizing this site, here is a link to the article, in which there is no further elaboration on this statement.

it's trickier to be sincere than insincere and have it work. a lot of what passes for sincerity, at least in the mainstream media, is a string of cliches sung in earnest (ie. anything released by sting in the last 15 years) but what i would consider true sentiment (elliot smith's last two albums) is pretty rare. for sincerity to work in a song it has to go beyond intent. a line like 'there's still a little bit of your face i haven't kissed' from damien rice's 'cannonball' communicates a deeper sense of lost love than a line like 'how am i supposed to live without you' (the ubiquity of the lyric doesn't warrant a direct attribution--surely almost every ditty belted out on American Idol includes it) though the intent is the same.

these are obvious examples and to a great extent, good songwriting is subjective but you get my point. or do i have a point? fuck it then. just read the article.
Excellent points Stuart. Perhaps the mopey, muffled sound is just not for me. Or maybe the listening post is not the greatest venue for listening to this sort of thing. More and more I'm finding the listening post doesn't help me in any way with my purchase decision. 99% of the time when I listen to something in the store I leave without buying it. Perhaps the exuberant prose on the wall that accompanies the disc instantly raises my shields and the album is then forced to be even better than its been hyped to be. This even happened with the new Tangiers CD which I was already digging due to a couple of early downloads. Had every intention of buying it until I listened to it in the store. Am I looking for instant pop/rock perfection?

Back to your point Stuart. I am certainly not averse to sincerity in music and in fact it is very refreshing as you mention. The latest Wrens disc was a good case in point.
Re; Brians spring cd mix
Its not new but maybe you could sprinkle a little classic bossa nova ..say getz or solo stuff from astrude gilberto or even new stuff from south america say ........bebel gilberto, or juana molina....That stuff shouts spring to me.
In belated response to your comment on neo folky experimentals. The Julie Holland , I quite like, I bought her earlier disc and have the new one also. I guess it all comes down to the whether you "buy" into the authenticity of it or not. Always dangerous ground when the songs are without irony. I guess I am a bit tired of music that steers away from sincerety because of the danger of being seen as mopey...fake..etc. Using the "Irony" thing can be a bit of a cop out----see commercial radio songs et al...
Sure.... there are bands who can pull off either side of this debate, but I think its harder to do really sincere stuff without coming of cloying, and I think Holland does it for me. I like the Feist too, but I see that as more based in european or french retro pop not neo folk.......

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Another good suggestion would be Modest Mouse's very catchy new single, "Float On" which is very spring-like and poppy. For something completely different but very spring-like "Les Fleur" by 4 Hero, which I believe is a cover of a 1971 song by Minnie Riperton. Hope this helps.
May I suggest that you try the Unicorn's last album "Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone". Few rather sprightly pop tracks on that disc and they're Canadian. Definite must is "Herculean Bellboy" from the Young & Sexy disc or "One False Move" from the same disc. The rather catchy Britpop of the Delays with a song that has Heaven in the title might also fit the bill. You could also try a band that I really dig called Summer Hymns. Especially some of their earlier material. You can probably get some tracks directly from their website.

Monday, May 24, 2004

OK, I'm making a coupla CD's for my S/African cousin, and need about twenty minutes worth of downloadable material to finish the second one. It's a theme CD of sorts with music that somehow connotes "spring", i.e., nothing too funereal (just the opposite). Ideally the music should be fairly recent and pop-esque, but I'm flexible.


Friday, May 21, 2004

I have to ask if being a neo romantic means loving the likes of Spandau Ballet and Classix Nouveaux. If so count me in.

As for Dave Douglas its taken quite a lot of listens but its finally starting to grow on me. Very different in that respect from his last couple of releases.

Speaking of contemporary music makers what's with the hype over all these neo-folkie-cum-experimental types that seem to be all the current rage. I'm thinking of Jolie Holland, Shannon Wright, Leslie Feist and you can throw in some of the men like Will Oldham and Devendra Banhart. You may not have heard of all of them but if you've spent any time recently in Soundscapes you can soundpost most of them. And what do they have in common? For the most part they leave me cold. Too much trying to sound quirkily cool and, unlike our lad Jimmy Smith, way too little in the soul department. And enough with the slurring of words already.

Have a good long weekend y'all.
As self-appointed king of the Jazz Jarheads (any challengers??? I thought not), I'll start by saying no, I don't own that particular album. Not surprising considering that the guy put out something like thirty CD's in the 50's and 60's. And I would strongly recommend him for anyone looking for top-notch funky jazz from that period - he rocks (or as close to it as they did then), and he has soul. He also plays with wonderful musicians. However, as evidenced by the fact that I own two of his records ("Back at the Chicken Shack" and "the Incredible Jimmy Smith", both very solid) versus 12-15 recordings each of Coltrane, Davis, Shorter, Evans, Chet, Clifford Brown (hell, even 8-10 of Lee Morgan's), the man has some serious limitations in the diversity category, and doesn't merit anything beyond a sample of his best. Having said that, I'm pretty curious to hear the track that you loved the other night. When (not if) you buy the CD, you'll have to lend it to me.

On a completely unrelated note, I bought Nico's (she of VU's first release fame) 1966 album " Chelsea Girl" the other day, which is absolutely marvellous. I would stack her (the "Real Nico") up against Tuesday Weld anytime. Original Chamber Pop that sounds very contemporary against today's practitioners. You either hate or love her germanic delivery. For me it's imbued with sadness and worldliness.

On a further tangential note, I recently bought Dave Douglas' newest, which is great - complex and rich melodies and arrangements - and Samuel Barber's 1950's opera "Vanessa", which I would highly recommend if you're a (neo) romantic at heart.
Hey all you pointy-heads maybe you can help me out. Listening to some jazz before hitting the hay a few nights ago when I actually started to "listen" to the song that was being played as it was smokin' and I'd never heard it before. Thankfully Mr. DJ provided me with the name of the song and the album. It was Jimmy Smith's album entitled "Six Views of the Blues" with Cecil Payne on sax, Art Blakey on drums and Kenny Burrell on guitar. The album was released originally in 1958 and not re-issued until 1999 and only as a limited release. Neither Sams nor HMV stocks it. Do any of you gentleman have this fine, underappreciated disc in your collection?

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Damn those NY times toffs! I should have known better. The problem with the NY Times is that you have to subscribe (free) by providing your e-mail address and some other basic info. As such here's the text.


Rock That’s Oh So Stupid Yet Oh So Intelligent

Published: May 16, 2004

ELAYS You can't tell a word Greg Gilbert is saying on this English band's debut album, "Faded Seaside Glamour" (Rough Trade), and you won't care; his soaring falsetto is that beautiful. The first single, "Nearer Than Heaven," sounds pretty close to heaven already and quotes Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" while surpassing it in liquid pop ecstasy. Although the rest of the album lacks variety, Mr. Gilbert showcases his Hollies fetish in entertaining ways throughout. Maybe Delays and the Darkness will start a great castrati revival in England, and there will be a new golden age of music.


GOMEZ The Americana-rock purveyors Gomez often seem like a postpunk Grateful Dead, but they do it all so well on "Split the Difference" (Hut). "I've got a timeless melody — but I sing out of key," they sing, but the vocals are perfect. "We Don't Know Where We're Going" illustrates its title with a Ping-Pong stereo introduction, amazing on headphones, played on acoustic guitars so rhythmically perfect some listeners will have seizures. "Meet Me in the City" is a psychedelic bonbon in 18/8 time, which reverses the hippie cliché of going to the country. If only all stupid rock music could be this intelligent.

STEVE FORBERT No matter how uplifting Mr. Forbert intends his lyrics to be, his gorgeously ragged voice makes every song on "Just Like There's Nothin' to It" (Koch) a soulful lament, making him a sort of male Billie Holiday within his singer-songwriter Southern rock genre. Unimaginative arrangements featuring acoustic guitars undermine Jason Lehning and Marc Muller's dry, ultrarealist production, but the words are very much the point in this style of music, and Mr. Forbert's homespun lyrics are often delectable. "The dogs chase cars, and men chase dreams. The dog is the more practical, it seems." Maybe he doesn't mean to be uplifting, actually, but he says he does in interviews. Personally, I find acoustic guitars depressing.

THE KILLERS Retro new-wave Britpoppers from Las Vegas with genuine fake British accents, the Killers sound uncomfortably like a lot of bands (Interpol, often) on "Hot Fuss" (Island Def Jam). But with songs like the homoerotic power ballad "Andy, You're a Star," the teen angst power ballad "Smile Like You Mean It" and the sarcastic power ballad "Everything Will Be Alright," they'll appeal to teenagers who don't know the sources. The songs deserve better than these unvarying distorted guitars, and maybe on their next album the Killers will get a bit more subtle, like playing a nice, depressing acoustic guitar. Meanwhile, they'll be popular anyway because they're adorable.

MISS KITTIN Poor dear, she doesn't want to be a silver-voiced chanteuse transcending electroclash through sheer beauty, she just wants to be a hip D.J. All of her songs on "I Com" (Astralwerks) go on too long, averaging five minutes, but that's club music. The embarrassingly specific lyrics about her personal life — "Meet Sue Be She" is a tribute to Miss Kittin's manager — give the album the feel of a nocturnal diary with the immediacy of a Web log. Vintage synthesizers and filtered rhythm units dominate a distinctly 1982 soundscape, and Kittin's thick French accent conjures the French New Wave days of Mathematiques Modernes and Plastic Bertrand.

MORRISSEY His new album, "You Are the Quarry" (Sanctuary), demonstrates more than ever that the best lyricist in rock, Morrissey, still surrounds himself with dull musicians incapable of properly filling out his introspective kitchen-sink dramas. Plodding generic rock 'n' roll accompanies "Where taxi drivers never stop talking, under slate-gray Victorian sky: Here you'll find despair and I." At this level of lyric artistry, these warmed-over arena rock backdrops are a waste. One longs to lock him up for a year with, say, the pop orchestra the High Llamas, so lyrics like "I've been dreaming of a time when to be English is not to be baneful, to be standing by the flag not feeling shameful, racist or martial" can be matched by equally thoughtful arrangements.

THE REAL TUESDAY WELD Pretentious enough to do a concept album based on the Glen Duncan novel "I, Lucifer," the Real Tuesday Weld (a k a Stephen Coates) is witty enough to carry it off and smart enough to hire Martyn Jacques of the Tiger Lillies to sing the sad parts. "I, Lucifer" (Six Degrees) genre-hops merrily between accordion ballads and dance floor fodder like the single "Bathtime in Clerkenwell," which will remind moviegoers of "The Triplets of Belleville" in its infectious evocation of 1920's cartoon music. No style or tempo lasts more than four minutes, making the record fun for actually listening to, without feeling one should really do the dishes now.

Stephin Merritt is the leader of Magnetic Fields, which just released its seventh album, "i."

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Apparently this guy is everywhere. And will the Real Tuesday Weld please stand up.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

It was a medium tempo number, but there was something real sweet about it. The cd is just out now, so I'll check the stores.
Thanks for the help ya all
I know V Vogel only as an old (70'ish) big band Canadian jazz guy. Not someone I'd get excited about normally. Johanne Blouin I've never heard of so I looked 'er up on allmusic and they're in love with her last release (former pop singer who has moved to jazz). It doesn't have Vogel on it but it does have John Hicks on piano, so it's gotta be OK. I guess she and the Vic-ster have teamed up on something new? What sort of a number was it?
Check this link out for all you need to know.
Love to help you out there pal but I'm way too much of a weenie/wally/wuss (insert your own "w" word) to even begin to be cool enough to know what a Vic Vogel is. Perhaps my more erudite colleagues can help out where I have failed.
I heard a tune on CIUT this morning by Vig Vogel and sung by Joanne Blouin, which is from a new cd of theirs.It was pretty great and I know nothing of either of them, do any of you know of them, and if so what to recommend??
(please disregard aforementioned wanker comment and respond kindly, yours humbly....)

Monday, May 17, 2004

What a bunch a wankers.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

As I was about to say Derek, glad you're digging Chico Hamilton's "Dealer". I like the groovy big beat aspect of it, the tenor man (Arnie Lawrence I think) is very good - I'll have to look for him again. Larry Coryell's work on guitar is generally very interesting, but I would have preferred a little less of him overall. It's really his record.

I bought a few disks the other day, so in the spirit of Blog-dom I thought I'd throw them out for consideration: Ben Kweller's latest, which I generally like quite a bit (it's not interesting, it's just good). He has a great indy voice and three or four very solid songs; Archer Prewiit's Gerroa Songs, which is highly atmopsheric eight-track acoustic stuff. Very nice, if at times a little in love with its navel. I want to buy his next (2002) release "three", but don't see myself getting to Soundscapes until after my exam in 4 weeks. If either of you guys is there and can pick it up for me that'd be great. I might even pay you back. It's in the "labels" section near the door; John Cunningham's record (called Happy Go Unlucky) which I think I'm going to like a lot. Sort of from the Elliot Smith school. Last, and, I suspect, least (for me) was Franz Ferdinand. I'm getting tired of people re-creating eighties' sounds (which are generally execrable to my ears) and thinking it's cool. Not all of the songs on this disk fall into that trap, but about half do, and they're lyrically pretty banal too. Mind you, there are a few pretty thrilling numbers - the first track "Jacqueline" makes my blood race. A few more listens will seal its fate one way or the other.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Way to wade into the fray, Mr. Doyle.

I also enjoyed both films, though in the case of 'House of Sand and Fog' (Ben Kingsley is the new bleak), my definition of 'enjoyed' is stretched to mean 'that which makes me want to curl up into the foetal position and weep for several hours'.

Been doing a bit of (gasp!) legal downloading this week, courtesy of a couple of sites: Better Propaganda and Pitchfork. These offer free MP3s but I also signed up for the Emusic service, which offers an introductory 40 tracks and then is $9.95 US per month thereafter. The selection is somewhat limited but I was able to find a few decent jazz and pop tunes and will probably continue with it for another month or so.

That's where I downloaded Deerhof's new disc "Milkman", which I've listened to a few times and still haven't been able to decide whether I like it or not (there are a few samples at the betterpropaganda site).

Not sure if anybody (ie. Derek) checked out the The Real Tuesday Weld show at the Drake last night but they sure seem to be getting a lot of press these days. They're playing a live set online on Tuesday morning at KCRW, an LA-based radio station with a great website and musical guests that seem, at times, tailored exactly to my musical predilections. Their playlists are always a good resource too.

Off to Seattle from tomorrow to next Friday but will keep in touch. Go Flames Go!

Looks like I'm in. Yeah.

Saw "Girl With a Pearl Earring" last night. Very beautiful film. Scarlet Johannsen is (still) the new black. Or something like that.

Also saw "House of Sand and Fog". Quite powerful - Ben Kingsley continues to amaze me. And Jennifer Connelly is the (other) not-so-new black.